Education, Fake News, News

UW’s ‘Calling BS’ class tackles fake news

A University of Washington class titled “Calling Bull**** in the Age of Big Data” has drawn worldwide attention and even a book deal for the professors. And the school doesn’t censor the second half of that particular word.

Assistant Professor Jevin West and Biology Professor Carl Bergstrom stood in front of a packed auditorium Wednesday. An overflow of students had to sit on the stairs. The lecture was broadcast to the world. The professors continue to balance local and national media requests.

The professors adhere to this definition of the word: BS is language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence, according to the class’ website.

“I think people are sick of seeing pollution, and I think they just want to clean it up,” said West, knowing they’ve hit a nerve.

Read more at King 5 News.

Image courtesy of King 5 News.

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Advertising, Education, News, People, Places

Students taking on new skills, challenging authority

Here are two pieces from local and national papers highlighting students using media literacy tools to impact their communities.

This piece from the Kitsap Sun features elementary school students here in Washington tackling a popular advertising campaign.

Students in Heather Wilson’s library class frowned as they watched the time-lapse video of an ordinary woman transformed into a super-model. Bad enough the layering on of make-up, the teasing of hair. A few of the kids made gross-out faces, as the video showed the woman’s neck in a photo digitally lengthened before her image was slapped on a billboard.

The video, part of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, has been around for a decade, but it was new to these fourth-graders, and it had the desired effect. The students learned — or had reinforced — the fact that images on the Internet can be digitally altered. Wilson asked them to think about an advertiser’s purpose in taking such liberties.

Read more at the Kitsap Sun.

Meanwhile these Kansas high school students began looking into their new principal’s past and discovered several discrepancies, causing her to resign. Their story of investigative journalism has since gone viral.

Connor Balthazor, 17, was in the middle of study hall when he was called into a meeting with his high school newspaper adviser.

A group of reporters and editors from the student newspaper, the Booster Redux at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas, had gathered to talk about Amy Robertson, who was hired as the high school’s head principal on March 6.

The student journalists had begun researching Robertson, and quickly found some discrepancies in her education credentials.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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Education, News, Resources, Technology

Video gaming becomes a scholarship sport at University of Utah

The University of Utah will become the first big-time sports school to offer scholarships for competitive video gaming, so far the most high-profile entry into collegiate esports.

Backed by the Salt Lake City school’s video game development program, Utah’s first varsity esports team will play Riot Games’ popular League of Legends and compete in Riot’s collegiate league. More teams in other games will be announced this year.

Utah is the first school in the “Power Five” — the five richest athletic conferences in college sports — to offer scholarships for video gaming, lending a high-profile endorsement to the the rapidly-growing industry. “We want others schools to join us,” said A.J. Dimick, who will run the new esports program. “Let’s move this along together.”

Read more at Bloomberg.

Image courtesy of Bloomberg.

General Images Of Gamers

Bill Update, Education, News, People, Politics

AME featured in News Tribune article regarding media literacy

An article about media literacy in the Tacoma News Tribune features several AME members discussing our impact within the education field and work on the Digitial Citizenship/Media Literacy bill. Linda Kennedy, Claire Beach and Marilyn Cohen are mentioned, as well as Senator Marko Liias, who has championed the bill since the very beginning.

The article quotes AME members and Senator Liias:

“Screens wake us up in the morning. They send us off to school,” says Linda Kennedy, a former Seattle television journalist who now offers media literacy education.

“It was something we needed to tackle, and we could do it in a way that does not put a burden on districts.” -Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood

“How do students interpret information they find online? That goes to the heart of media literacy…. We’re seeing thousands of devices being delivered into our schools,” Marilyn Cohen said. “We are in a revolution.”

Read more at The News Tribune.

Education, Fake News, News, People

How you know fake news education is working, when your students call you out

This fifth-grade teacher taught his students to identify fake news, knowing that it was important for them to be able to recognize verified information in an ever-increasing world of fabricated journalism.

What he came to be surprised by, and proud of, was his students’ interest in using their new skills to fact-check him.

I was determined to change the way I help my students critically analyze the information they were finding on the internet.

Read his story at Vox.

Image courtesy of Vox.

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Education, Events, Fake News, News

Seattle Public Schools and City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture announce grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Seattle Public Schools (SPS), in partnership with the City of Seattle, will open up new career and college pathways for city youth to graduate from high school “Seattle Ready,” by establishing new media arts courses in the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center. Skills Center courses, taught by industry professionals, will enable students to be competitive in the local workforce and provide the opportunity to live and work in Seattle.

SPS has received a grant of $395,000 from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to fund the creation of new Media Arts courses offered through the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center. The grant will be supplemented by an additional $175,000 from the City of Seattle. Providing an initial investment, this external financial support will lead to a sustainable program. The new Media Arts courses will begin in July and students can apply today.

Read more about this grant here.

Image courtesy of the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.